Chelsea Asplund/The AS Review
Most fashion runways consist of a long, elevated catwalk where models flawlessly strut the season’s latest styles. This week, a fashion show of similar nature will take place at Western, but models will strut a different look: latex condoms.
The second annual Condom Fashion Show will be held on Thursday, May 26 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room at 7 p.m. The show is coordinated by the Associated Students Sexual Awareness Center. Tickets, available at the box office in the Performing Arts Center, are $3 for students and $5 for the general public.
SAC Coordinator Shawna Leader assisted in planning last year’s event as an intern, but went full-throttle this year as coordinator. She said the process began as soon as she joined the office.
“What I saw last year and this year is that it’s a great way to get involved with our office,” she said. “People get to design outfits, model in them and perform. They get to be involved with our office and get to know it better as a resource.”
The event consists of a fashion show with performances from the Salsa Club, Glee Club and two employees of the AS Resource and Outreach Programs. A silent auction will be held during the show, and attendees can bid on gift packages, including a backpack, Boundary Bay shirts, SAC sweaters and gift cards for local businesses.
After covering production costs, proceeds from the event will go to Evergreen AIDS Foundation and Planned Parenthood.
“We get to spread a message about safe sex and celebrating all identities as well as sustainability,” Leader said. “All of that is through outfits made of expired condoms.”
Around 11,000 condoms were purchased from the California-based condom manufacturer IBI Synergy, and a few thousand extras were donated by Evergreen and Planned Parenthood. Each designer in the show was given 800 condoms to use.
While logistical planning began in the fall, during winter quarter there was an open call for designers. Participants had until early May to complete their looks, which they then had to reveal in a preview show.
Designers were given free range for their creations, with the only requirement being no indecency or nudity. Leader said designers commonly take already made clothes, such as dresses, swimsuit tops or skirts, and attach the condoms to them.
“I like that it really celebrates the creativity of the different awesome people we have on campus,” she said. “It gives people the opportunity to express their creativity in a fun, different way you don’t always get to see.”
Senior Royce Andrews was the SAC assistant coordinator last year. As Andrews watched videos of condom fashion shows done at universities in Oregon, she was instantly inspired.
“Right away, I was on board. Looking at the pictures and the videos, I thought it was such a positive spin on condoms,” she said.
Andrews is participating this year as a model, a very different role from her job as emcee last year. She said she is excited to participate in a different way, especially for an event that has fun with condoms, which are sometimes too taboo to be openly mentioned.
“This event really gets rid of that and makes it into a celebration of safe sex and all identities and that positive body image,” Andrews said. “All shapes and sizes are on stage in all types of outfits, and by the end of the event everyone in the audience will look at condoms as something normal. That’s the kind of dialogue we need to make about safe sex and condoms.”